While investigations surrounding the death of Michael Jackson steadily progressed and media frenzy over different facets of his life continued, the great entertainer and philanthropist himself was laid to rest September 3, 2009, at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.
Jackson’s funeral came just over two months, and two unsettling autopsies, after his death on June 25, 2009. At just past midnight EST and 9 p.m. PST, Rev. Al Sharpton, the internationally renowned human rights leader who has also been a spiritual counselor to the Jackson family, twittered to inform the world: "MICHAEL JACKSON HAS BEEN LAID TO REST."
The reverend also noted, "What MJ went through was so unfair, yet he succeeded. In the end, he was the biggest artist ever. He faced the headwinds but he made it."
Jackson’s burial took place while fires that have ravaged more than 140,000 acres of the Los Angeles forest and 64,000 homes smoldered less than twenty miles in the distance. Among those gathered to pay final respects and provide emotional support for the Jackson family were many whom the general public refers to as celebrities but whom the singer knew as "friends." Among them were: two-time Academy Award-winner Elizabeth Taylor, legendary singer Gladys Knight (who sang "His Eye on the Sparrow" during the service), actor Macauley Culkin, baseball great Barry Bonds, actor Chris Tucker, Rev. Clifton Davis (who sang "Never Can Say Goodbye"), Jackson’s former wife Lisa Marie Presley, and a number of others.
Television Coverage Restricted
Television networks were allowed access to a live feed that provided direct coverage of Jackson’s funeral up until the arrival of the music icon’s hearse. At that time the feed was cut. Whereas many had been anticipating a closed-off in-door ceremony, it was in fact held outside to accommodate approximately 200 close friends and family members. Hollywood 411 on the TV Guide Network, which has provided ongoing daily and nightly coverage of Jackson for the past two months, was among the programs that covered the event.
Ironically enough, at the same time that Hollywood 411 reported on the funeral, the BET network ran its presentation of "Inside the Michael Jackson Mansion" and another station aired the documentary, "Michael Jackson." Also notable was the simultaneous broadcast of singer Maxwell’s Five Days of Night and Video Journey music documentaries. (Given that the first part of Maxwell’s long-awaited trilogy BLACKsummers’night debuted at number one the first week in July, some have started to describe his music and career as potentially picking up where Jackson’s left off.)
Hollywood 411 commentators observed that the ceremony looked "as though it’s been set up for a production," and speculated that the Jackson family was possibly obtaining footage for its forthcoming new reality TV project on A&E next year. That may indeed be possible but any film the family acquired would also allow its members to control distribution of the images and how they are presented to the world, rather than allow others to continue to appropriate their most private moments for corporate media purposes and profits. Such control over media imagery has in fact played a major role in both Michael Jackson’s individual success and that of the Jackson family as a whole.
Please click here to read Michael Jackson A Moonwalking Giant Lies Down to Rest Part 2